Wednesday came to a close no differently than any other day that week. My wife was at Bible study and my youngest son was staying with his older brother in Indianapolis. Around 9:20 p.m. I decided to take my dog for a walk. The sun had set, leaving the air comfortably warm and with just enough light that the surroundings were painted with soft tones of muted evening colors.
The Holy Spirit’s presence was unusually powerful that evening as He whispered to my heart about my heavenly Father’s love. As I spent some time in spiritual reflection, I intensely felt the reality of the kind of love needed for Jesus Christ to die such a horrible death and for His Father to endure the scenes of rejection, torture, and crucifixion of His beloved Son.
I asked God to forgive my sins and especially my ungrateful attitude. I had been complaining about situations in my life that seem to never go away. Because of this insightful understanding of the tremendous sacrifices that my heavenly Father and Jesus made on my behalf, I stated that if He had done nothing more for humanity than offering His Son as the sin sacrifice, it would still be more than we deserve. I prayed that His will would be accomplished in my life. My prayer ended with a request for a hug.
Sometimes I prayed for a sign, but I am hesitant because we are to walk by faith and not by sight. Admittedly, over the past 20 years, I have asked to see an angel and hadn't yet seen one. However, my heavenly Father has provided me with hugs vicariously through the following signs: a kind word from a brother, a smile from a loved one, a personal message in a sermon, a friendly hug or kind gesture from a stranger, an odd coincidence, favor, an unexpected meeting with a total stranger that brings me peace, and the list goes on. Not a sign or miracle that defied the natural laws governing this earth, but inconspicuous acts that only I recognize as a miracle. I don’t need a sign to believe in God, but on occasion my flesh needs a word of encouragement.
Heading back home, I began walking up the driveway. I noticed the star in the southwestern sky that I have always called Alfa Centauri, because it is the first to appear. It seemed unusually bright that evening, so I stood gazing up at the celestial wonder. Suddenly, below the star and against the tree line across the road, there was a motion -- like a bird flapping its wings. It appeared as if the bird was caught in a fabric and imprinted on the fabric was the view before me.
Whatever was thrashing seemed to fly up above the tree line and against the evening sky. Unexpectedly, it was as if a dozen sparklers had been lit, causing me to ask myself, "Is this a meteor?" Then there was a tremendous burst of light, resulting in a hole, window, or portal of sorts. The scene before me (sky, trees, yard, etc.) was like a piece of fabric and behind this drapery was a bright light that began burning holes in the fabric, revealing a view of the other side.
Through the opening, I saw the back of a winged creature, and its wings were moving quickly. Suddenly, the wings stopped moving, and then the creature spread them open like a bird drying its wings in the sun. At that moment, I realized that the winged creature was an angel.
The angel’s left wing was visible, because the right side was beyond the window opening. To the left of the angel’s wing and in the background was a crystal blue sky filled with white clouds brilliantly illuminated by a light. A beautiful white light was shining in the distance, but its source was out of view. The light was similar to what you see in a morning sky -- only more radiant and a hundred times whiter. The angel’s wing glowed as it reflected the light. The wing was translucent and looked like it was made of glass or crystal. Luminous colors ran through the wing, changing colors and direction. As I think back, the best way to describe how the colors moved in the angel’s wing would be similar to the cuttlefish. The colors instantly appeared and continually changed colors as they coursed through the crystal-like framework of the wing.
All at once, the angel’s wings started to flutter, and instantly the hole in the evening sky was repaired. The entire phenomenon seemed to last about 10 seconds. I don’t remember if there was sound associated with this supernatural manifestation, for the visual beauty overpowered my auditory senses.
The window that appeared in the sky that evening was small; however, what God allowed me to see has been difficult for my mind to process. I flew out of town the next day for a meeting, and in every waking minute I was in a mental tug-of-war; vacillating between the natural and spiritual. When something happens that defies human logic, our natural mind tries to dismiss it. I no longer question the legitimacy of what I saw that evening, even though it has taken several days for my mind to absorb. However, my question now is, "What is the lesson God wants me to learn from this vision?"
Two weeks later, a thought surfaced about my reaction at the time of the vision. Over the years, my Christian journey has removed all doubt about whether God is real and that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. The reason that God allowed me to see a glimpse of heaven was not so that I would believe. For I had walked with my heavenly Father long enough that a sign was not necessary.
Signs and wonders will follow those who already believe, not to convince people to believe. Signs and wonders strengthen God’s children as we walk through the storms of life. The Bible says in John 20:29, ASV: "Jesus saith unto him, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." The phrase "Blessed are they that have not seen" refers to those who worship a risen Savior, but have never seen Him in the flesh.
After I had walked with God for 29 years, He decided to answer my prayer for a hug in a miraculous way. The heavenly Father was encouraged by my heartfelt empathy regarding the costly sacrifices made by Him and His Son, and by my deep gratitude for His love. Almighty God seared an opening in the fabric (veil) of creation to give me a glimpse of my future home and the light of His glory.
God didn’t do this because I am more special to Him than any other born-again believer. However, like any parent whose child comes to a full understanding of the sacrifices his or her parents have made for them, we (the parents) react with uncommon favor toward that child.